ECW Press Canada's underground indie heroes of the past decade -- Arcade…
- Posted on Jun 27th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
The evening's festivities centered on Davidson, who kicked things off with a reading from his just-released debut book, 'We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001.' The book is about the last generation of pre-Internet garage-punk artists -- the vinyl-collecting, true-believing transcontinental couch crashers that kept things fun in the age of grunge.
Davidson argues that such groups as the Dwarves, Dead Moon, the Raunch Hands and the Gories had real merit and are worthy of canonization. As fine a book as 'We Never Learn' is, he better made his point later that night when he and the Turks, scene vets that called it quits back in 2003, staged one of their sporadic comebacks. Formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1989, the band is the embodiment of the 'Gunk' aesthetic: loud, deadly fast and somehow swinging.
Davidson performed like he'd just gnawed through tethers that had too long held him at his computer desk. From opener to encore, he was in perpetual motion, clapping, mugging, strutting and jumping. As he roamed the front of the stage, he would reach down and pluck hats and pairs of sunglasses from fans' heads, wearing the items for just long enough to strike spastic spokesmodels' poses, then flinging them back to their owners.
"Come on and dance, brother," Davidson said at the start of one Stooges-like number, slithering like a goofball Iggy Pop.
On such tunes as 'The Girl Can't Help It' and 'Born Toulouse-Lautrec,' guitarist Jim Weber justified the use of his Flying V, playing the kinds of speedy, beefy riffs that instrument demands. Bassist Matt Reber and drummer Sam Brown, meanwhile, kept the Turks train rolling, even as Davidson -- blinded by enthusiasm and, at one point, oversized Jackie Onassis shades -- threatened to steer it off the rails.
Toward the end of the final song, Davidson instructed everyone to crouch down, à la John Belushi and company during the 'Shout' scene in 'Animal House.' The band temporarily muted its attack, awaiting the singer's cue -- "One, two, three, four!" -- to slam back into gear and peel out in the direction of the afterparty. As fans sprang from the floor, some chucked cans and sprayed the stage with beer.
Davidson leapt into the audience and was held high by a few dozen hands. A note to the publishing industry: More book launches should end with crowd surfing.